PHOENIX - California freight transport executives are pushing Sacramento to support California ports by making them a funding priority.

West Coast ports are fearful of losing some of their business share when the Panama Canal expansion project allows enormous modern freight vessels to pass through beginning next year, opening up a more direct ocean lane from Asia to the Atlantic.

"Challenges to our business are everywhere - Mexico, Canada the U.S. East Coast," Port of Oakland executive director Chris Lytle told legislative staffers. "We're doing all we can to keep Oakland and other California ports the most attractive option for international shippers, but we can use your help."

Major West Coast ports like Oakland, Long Beach, Calif., and Seattle, Wash. are major issuers of bonds as well as major economic engines for their regions. The executives want California lawmakers to make ports a priority during the special legislative session on transportation that is under way now by order of Gov. Jerry Brown.



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